Music Actually Makes You Healthy!
Music is Enjoyable!
One of the largest problems in America today is people’s view of themselves. They see themselves as overweight when, in reality, they’re at a healthy weight. So many people are led by this misconception to attempt to achieve a healthier body but only end up pushing their bodies into a more harmful state. Most often, these people fail at achieving their idolized body type; and, as a result, their self- esteem and mental health drop into a decreased state. Instead of falling into this cycle, people should listen to music before they exercise. Music can positively affect physical health in America because it positively affects mental health and self-esteem. Music is enormously popular.
Why are people so interested in this type of art? What is so special about it? Music is found in a multitude of styles throughout the globe. Although some types of music are somber or negative in nature, most types across the globe are uplifting. A majority of people find enjoyment and pleasure in music. It speaks to their inner core, and inspires them to go for goals they wouldn’t have normally even considered trying to achieve. It calms them down and lets them step back and look at what lies ahead so they can analyze it and devise a strategy of how to accomplish it. Often times you even see people go as far as to say they can’t live without music. Professional athletes can be seen routinely tapping into this musical source of inspiration or calming before they take to the track, field, court, or pool. They usually do this by listening through their headphones right up to when they start their exercise. These athletes have the bodies that Americans are striving for. If people want to look like them, shouldn’t they observe what the professional athletes do and then do the same? Based on people’s experiences and responses to music, it is obvious that it has an effect on them. It makes them feel better about themselves and gives them the sensation that they can keep going with purpose and determination. In other words, music increases a person’s self-esteem and mental health by providing them with an uplifting and energetic mindset. Can this mindset help a person become physically healthy?
According to Paul Campos’ article, “Our Absurd Fear of Fat,” the United States government classifies 74% of men and 65% of women as either overweight or obese (9). This outrageous statistic was brought to us with the skewed American view of what is obese. The view has been invented and molded by advertisers who promote the stick-thin catwalk models who are supposedly rocking the ideal body we should all be pursuing. This helps them promote the billion-dollar weight loss industry. Campos’ article goes on to explain that “130 million of the 165 million American adults currently categorized as overweight and obese would be re-categorized as normal weight instead” (9). It is obvious we have a problem. Most Americans are truly at a healthy weight, but they view themselves as being at a harmful weight. An article on the women’s view of their body appearance versus their desired body appearance stated that “When a woman is asked to reveal her weight, the chances are she will lie” (Day 6). Yes, there is a smaller segment of America that is obese and is in need of weight loss for health reasons. But, as indicated above, clearly we have a situation in America, largely driven by the media, that makes a majority of our society self conscious and concerned about weight and appearance, a self-consciousness that detracts from the quality of life. This is an important aspect of a majority of American’s lives. Shouldn’t we find the fix to this problem? Enduring through workouts is one of the main features of attaining the solution, and music helps a person do that.
The New York Times reported on a study performed by the University of Kent that attempted to find out what the effects of a tired brain were on a person’s exercise. They tested this by having their participants sit, “for 90 minutes before a computer screen, intently watching individual letters flash by while they counted every four and punched various keys, depending on how each grouping of the letters was configured … During a separate lab visit, the men watched “Earth,” a serene, calming documentary, for 90 minutes” (Reynolds). Using these two separate visits with different scenarios, along with a control scenario where the participants simply performed the same exercise, they were able to find a significant difference in performance. “As it turned out, mental fatigue significantly affected the men’s endurance. They tired about 13 percent faster after the computer test than after watching ‘Earth.’ They also reported that the workout felt far more taxing” (Reynolds). Through this test it is easy to see that mental fatigue is a direct element of people discontinuing their workouts or even going to work out. When someone considers working out, they want to feel energetic before the workout. If they don’t happen to feel ready to go out and get some exercise, often times the typical American will simply put off the workout, expecting to do it later. Then they again will feel terrible about themselves since they aren’t doing the proper amount of exercise that it takes to become healthy in their own eyes. “In simpler terms, exercise simply feels harder when your brain is tired, so you quit earlier” (Reynolds). Music cures this because it increases a person’s self-esteem and mental health. Listening to music before a workout will make a person feel energized, therefore decreasing their mental fatigue. This decrease in fatigue motivates a person to continue through a workout and lengthens their endurance.
Eating healthy, reducing food portions, and working out are the most prominent ways of attaining a better lifestyle and a healthier body; however, we see that most Americans tend to lean on the eating healthier side of a good lifestyle rather than focus on working out. They exclaim that, “working out is too difficult.” They get tired too fast and don’t see enough results to make it worth it. Every time they go to work out, they feel tired before even beginning; therefore, they tend to just not even go out and exercise in the first place. Clearly, exercise is a critical part of a healthy lifestyle because the people that only eat right to try to achieve a healthy body end up never seeing they kind of results they are looking for; so, it is important that people integrate working out into their daily routine. Because so many people have been giving up on the working out aspect of a healthy lifestyle, a variety of issues have been occurring. These include: lower self-esteem, depression, development of eating issues for comfort, and a resulting spiral of overall health. This feeling is further exacerbated as they drive through town or watch TV, viewing billboards, and other media. They see models and feel like they are not living healthily and up to the standards set be their society. This problem needs to be addressed. We could either stop the advertisers from displaying images of young, toned athletes and models, or we could get people to listen to music which would help them to endure through their workouts and actually help them achieve a healthier physique. We may not be able to stop the multitude of young, toned, body shape related advertisements that plague our televisions, posters, billboards, and other visual media, but we can listen to music! If people listen to music before engaging in their workout, they will be uplifted and be in a better mood. Listening will increase their self-esteem and increase their performance.
If people listen to music more often, especially uplifting music that they really enjoy, then we should see an increase in people’s endurance, which would in turn give them enough pre-workout energy to make them actually want to go work out. This mental spark will help them not only start their workouts, but last through workouts. Lasting through more and more workouts will give a person more self-esteem and all the other benefits of a good workout such as a healthier physical body. Giving a person more self-esteem will raise their view about how they look. Raising a person’s views about how they look will, in turn, make them feel healthier and it will reflect in their attitude. Having this happen to a multitude of people can affect not only these people that have been accomplishing the workouts, but can progress to having a sweeping affect across the Nation. As indicated above, the main problem is not that people are physically obese, but they have a misconception implemented by the unfounded ideals instilled in them by advertisements. Listening to music can have an affect on this mistaken idea. It can change the view Americans have on themselves. This view change will help increase both the physical and mental health of the people as a whole.
One common argument against the use of music to increase your mental and physical health is that music is not actually positive. They say music today is more negative and will actually lower their self-esteem, therefore decreasing their endurance, which then leads to a less effective workout. This argument often arises through generations listening to a different generation’s music or from one culture listening to another culture’s music. Even though some people see a song as negative, others may not. Artists make music that appeals to a certain audience. If a person is not in that targeted audience, then they may not like the song. This person might then assume that the song is objectively negative. This isn’t true. Music is created for certain people. If you don’t like one artist’s music, then there is another one out there for you. When referring to a person listening to a song before a workout, it is important to notice that the music being listened to is fashioned to that person’s particular taste. Every person is different. So, not every person should listen to the same music; but instead, they should listen to the music that brings them joy and raises their self-esteem. This is what will increase a person’s mental health and endurance. This is how a person’s workout and eventually their physical health will be increased.
Music is something that people enjoy because it makes them feel refreshed and rejuvenated. There has been a misconception, driven by the visual media advertisers, that a healthy body is extremely skinny. The average person will not achieve the young, thin bodies that are seen as normal. Because of this, people are not satisfied with their own body and appearance. These same people have a problem with being able to take the steps to achieve a body they view as attainable and desirable. Their fatigue due to low self-esteem prevents them from accomplishing this goal. The result is a downward spiral of decreased mental and physical. Music is the ultimate answer to this prevalent problem. Through listening to music, people are able to achieve what they want to, and therefore feel more comfortable in their skin. Music cures the person’s view of themselves by allowing them to gain self-esteem and endurance by listening, and using this to go out and complete their workouts. It provides the mental clarity and energy necessary to push people to run, swim, or accomplish some other exercise that they would otherwise have avoided. Exercise in conjunction with eating properly gives people a better feeling about life and appearance and less concern for the “model look”. So, music does positively affect a person’s physical health because it increases their mental health and self-esteem. The end result of listening to music will be healthier lives that benefit both the body and the mind.
Campos, Paul. "Our Absurd Fear of Fat." Minding the Body. Ed. Katherine Cook & Martina Miles. Eugene, OR: University of Oregon Composition Program, 2013. 9-11. Print.
Day, Elizabeth. "Bye bye Kardashians: Olympic athletes give women new, strong role models." Minding the Body. Eds. Katherine Cook & Martina Miles. Eugene, OR: University of Oregon Composition Program, 2013. 6-8. Print.
Reynolds, Gretchen. " How Intense Study May Harm Out Workouts." New York Times 02 Oct. 2013: Web.